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Chocolate Week 2011

David Harfield prepares for a week of the ultimate indulgence

Written by . Published on October 7th 2011.


Chocolate Week 2011

IN Noam Chomsky’s seminal book, Manufacturing Consent, the philosophical cognitive scientist explains how he thinks that the mass media control the people by distracting them with distorted news coverage in order to keep them from searching for the truth about the hierarchical society that we live in. Bearing this in mind, I wonder what old Chomsky would make of the decision to run Chocolate Week at the same time as London Cocktail Week?  Is it a deliberate ploy to overload our pleasure senses and leave us in a sugar-coma whilst the nation slips out of summer and into autumn, when the government can pass oppressive acts as we loll around blissfully oblivious to their evil schemes?  Could it have been masterminded by a gang of diabetic teetotallers who want to keep us distracted as they plot world domination? Or is it simply a happy coincidence that is going to send our endorphin levels into overload?  London Confidential goes behind the scenes to prepare for the forthcoming week of chocolate…

Choc Sculpture 09 Low ResChoc Sculpture

The first stop on our chocolate tour was The Stafford Hotel, where Executive Head Chef, Brendan Fyldes, had prepared a meal of pure indulgence in honour of Chocolate Week; each of the five courses had a chocolate element to it and was matched with a taste-paired beer to complement its flavour. Top marks had to go to the hand-dived scallop in a cauliflower and white chocolate sauce, which had a subtle texture that was perfectly complemented by the light, citric Erdinger Weiss beer.  However, the real draw was the venison burger served on a seeded bap with Blue Monday cheese, (made by ex-Blur guitarist Alex James), pear chutney and chocolate ketchup which had a tangy, satisfying richness that was balanced out by the malty ale Bishops Finger.  Talking to London Confidential, Brendan said, “I wanted to create a meal that was entirely based around the flavours and textures of chocolate and beer to see how they could fit in and stand out amongst savory dishes. It just adds some fun and creativity to casual dining.”

Chocladle

Feeling full of the zest for life, (as well as a lot of delicious food), London Confidential went to explore more indulgent pastures where our love of chocolate and booze could be wed in beautiful harmony.  We didn’t have to look too hard before we stumbled across an invitation to a rum, cocktails and chocolate evening which is to be held at Barrio Central right slap bang in the middle of Chocolate Week and LCW on Wednesday 12 October.  Perhaps one of the most appropriate events to satisfy our indulgent desires, we booked ourselves in then did a little research about the fusion of rum and chocolate.  The best person to ask was Jim Wrigley, Global Ambassador for Santa Teresa, who told us, “With London Cocktail Week meeting National Chocolate week this year, family-owned rum Santa Teresa will be honouring our Venezuelan heritage by combining our multi-award winning rums with the internationally acclaimed chocolate creations of master chocolatier Paul A Young.  With some of the best rums in the world being mixed into luscious libations by the Barrio Central bartenders, and then paired with Paul's delightful delicacies, this event promises to be a mouth-watering highlight of both weeks.”

Duffy's Chocolate Low ResDuffy's Chocolate

There are also a whole bunch of events throughout the week of which attendance should be de rigueur for the most hardened of chocoholics as well as an array of top restaurants going chocolate-mad in honour of the occasion. The Gallery at Mayfair’s The Westbury has created a few bespoke desserts including a delightful Chocolate Provence with mascarpone cream and a particularly sumptuous Baked Chuao Chocolate Tart; like Oscar Wilde before us, we could resist everything except the temptation of this chocoholic delight.  The Gallery’s Head Chef Brian Fantoni exclaims, “Like most people I love chocolate and when used in desserts at The Gallery at The Westbury, it's always one of the most popular. We've created a couple of special desserts to celebrate chocolate week with and are lucky to have a Baked Tart with Chuao chocolate  (one of the rarest and finest chocolates) from Northern Venezuela.” Definitely one to look out for.

Choc Unwrapped2

Another exciting date to smudge on your diary is Chocolate Unwrapped at Vinopolis (15 – 16 October) where 40 top British chocolatiers are displaying their wares to over 4000 visitors; this will also be home to The Great Chocolate Cake Off on Sunday 16 October where up to 30 home bakers will present their interpretation of the definitive chocolate cake and will attempt to impress a panel of judges which includes Bea Vo of Bea’s of Bloomsbury and Chocablog’s Dom Ramsey.  Elsewhere, The Cookery School at Portland Street hosts a Chocolate Week Workshop on Thursday October 13; if you fancy getting your hands dirty, (and then licking them clean!), guests can learn how to make perfect chocolate cakes, truffles and ice cream, supervised by the crème de la crème of chocolatiers. 

Chocolate Dripping LadleChocolate Dripping Ladle

Well, we certainly have a full calendar next week; let’s hope that London Jogging Week comes shortly or it’ll be an expensive trip to the tailors to get our clothes to fit us again.  Enjoy all of the wonderful treats that Chocolate Week has in store for you and just make sure that, amidst next week sweet indulgences, you keep an eye on any sneaky MPs passing suspicious laws in parliament!  (Thinking of you Noam, thinking of you…)

Follow @DavidHarfield on Twitter!

National Chocolate Week runs from 10 – 16 October
Visit www.chocolateunwrapped.co.uk and www.chocolateweek.co.uk for more information

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